Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading Club

Reading transports to new places, other times, and other possibilities.  Reading opens our minds to new ideas and introduces us to friends we haven't met.  With so many distractions available that offer instant gratification, and such awful reading primer assignments, readers are becoming an endangered breed.  I have tried many things to stimulate my reluctant readers (all but Sunshine who came reading passionate).  I've certainly set a good example, I've required the daily reading from school, I've purchased easier readers, I've drilled vocabulary, word families, and blends.  I discovered today that in all Big Brother's assigned rushings, I've left out passion, joy, and fun....

No more.  From now on, we do it my way.  Our book club met at 8:30, enough after bedtime to be a real treat. We gathered around plates of graham toffee and milk, cuddled in blankets and started some real girl talk.

Our rules:  1.You have to read the book in order to attend.  2.  All members are treated with respect.  3.  When mom says book club is over we run, not walk, happily to bed. 

We brainstormed for names but aren't much good at it.  Anyone have any ideas?  The girl's current favorite is The Green Stockings (after the victorian Blue Stockings but with our favorite color).

The Sarah Plain and Tall Books are our current fodder.  We discussed the prairie, the 1800's, homesteading, and our favorite characters.  We drew up a list of unknown words to look up for our word wall.  Coarse, Maine, crisply, homely, slough, wood-stove, pry, exclaimed, moonbeam, and clattering are awaiting dictionary discovery during the coming week.  We imagined, laughed, discussed, and really enjoyed each other.  An added benefit to our meeting was a training session on how to gently blend your comment into the conversation; how to sense whether or not it is your turn, and how not to dominate a conversation.

The girls wanted the club to go on and on, but true to our rules, at one word from me, they disappeared into their bedrooms, each carrying their books. 

Instead of getting a silly score from a standardized test, I want them to answer yes to the following:
1.  Have you ever stayed up all night because you couldn't put a book down?
2.  Have you ever sneaked a peak at an exciting scene at school or during a boring lecture?
3.  Have you ever wondered if your stories were real and wondered if you'd ever meet your favorite friends?
4.  Have you ever cried when the dogs in Red Fern died?

Yeses to these questions will tell me all I need to know about your reading.  My way, I can include my brilliant child with learning disabilities.  My way, I can guide my little ones to books with value, heart, and wonder. 

 I realize it cuts into my sacred husband/private time, so I'll have to make that up elsewhere.    I grow anxious as my time grows short.  So much to do, so little time, such a short time of influence.  If we finish in a week our club will watch Sarah Plain and Tall and see how our imaginations stack against the movie. 


  1. Fantastic idea!
    I just signed us up for a mother/daughter book club at the Library. We haven't been yet, but I'm anxious to try it out.
    My sister also had a neighborhood mother/daughter book group....maybe something to think about??

  2. yes

    but what a fabulous way to inspire your little girls! i wonder if something like that would work for me . . .
    and that is a good thing to do, but husband/private time is indeed sacred and a good thing not to put on the back burner - i had started to discover such through my first year . . .

  3. Megan,
    I thought if it worked I would see if anyone wanted to join us. A party is always more exciting.

  4. We enjoy our mother/sons book group....I guess I wouldn't call it a book group, I don't know if boys have book groups. Anyway we enjoy our reading time together! Right now we're reading(well I'm reading to them) A Cricket in Times Square.